‘Tis the season to catch a cold. As a race we have conquered so many serious diseases, it’s astonishing how much we can be debilitated, albeit temporarily, by such tiny beings.
I try to remain as healthy as possible, eating well and getting plenty of fresh air and sea swimming (the less healthy lounging on sunbeds associated with such not withstanding). In winter, such activities are somewhat curbed, but the abundance of fresh oranges everywhere surely boosts one’s vitamin C levels. Keeping away from small children also helps (and is, I find, a good idea in itself).
Nevertheless I succumbed this month to such a bug, and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I’d just begun a week’s run of the new pantomime Cinderella 2 – The Uglies’ Revenge, and was achieving a lifetime dream of playing Cinderella, a role that involved sweet pure singing to contrast with my Ugly Sisters. On the third day, I woke feeling a little blocked up and began to panic about that night’s performance. Everyone told me “Don’t worry, it’s all in your mind” “Adrenaline will get you through”. So, confidently I worked through my first dialogue, just a little quieter than usual, until the first song, when I opened my mouth and sang B sharp, A sharp…and then – nothing. Any note above simply didn’t exist. Two hundred pairs of eyes and a spotlight on me, and no sound. Excruciating. And four more performances to go.
Next morning, straight to the pharmacist. I already had a stock of SNIPS, that Cyprus equivalent of Beechams which contains small amounts of medication for headache, cough, muscle fatigue, sore throat, and nasal congestion. I only had the latter symptom, so I explained the situation and asked the pharmacist for the strongest decongestants possible. She produced a box of SNIPS. No, I have those, I said I just need some decongestants. There is decongestant in the SNIPS, she said, but if you really want to unblock my sinuses you need to combine SNIPS, cough mixture and a nasal spray. I took the latter two but declined the SNIPS as I already had a box, but was told “You will need more. See you soon”.
Back home, I unpacked the nasal spray. A pretty wave picture, and the legends CONGESTION RELIEF and 100% NATURAL. Excellent. Instructions: insert nasal spray nozzle deep into one nostril, tip head to one side, spray for three seconds and allow spray to flow out of opposite nostril before blowing nose. Utterly delightful. Intrigued, Paul studied the ingredients and declared I had just spent €15.99 on a small bottle of seawater. This made sense: after swimming underwater at the beach, I always need to blow my nose. Comparing nostril water torture with the delights of sea bathing, I set off to the coast. “Be careful” warned a friend, “It’s December, you might catch cold”. A bit late for that.
I also tried my brother’s remedy of wearing a small muslin bag of finely chopped onions around the neck, based on the theory that cut onions absorb toxins – why onion halves on windowsills were believed to ward off plague in medieval times, and why it’s recommended to use a whole onion in cooking and never save part for later. Unfortunately the ‘burger pits’ aroma was likely to reduce Prince Charming to tears.
Two days later the sea spray and onions were all gone and Paul joined me in the snuffling – I sent him to buy more SNIPS as I couldn’t face the pharmacist’s “I told you so”.
But the show must go on, and so it did, with some alterations to the notes sung. And we all lived happily ever after…
Jezebel is one half of GrooveJet Media. Jezebel along with Paul, as well as being performing musicians themselves, have a project studio offering recording and production services to singers, duos, bands, film and video industry, radio and TV, as well as guitar tuition and custom made backing tracks. Our event production side presents various shows both of our own and in collaboration with or providing support for others. Groovejet Entertainments provides work for other musicians and entertainers, and provides venues with suitable acts. The Wedding Groove supplies individual DJs, singers, musicians, bands or whatever the happy couple desire for their wedding party. Visit the Groovejet Media Facebook page to find out more: